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Gay Couples Across The Nation Still Denied Right To Marry Due To Public Employees’ Religious Beliefs

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Fourteen magistrates in North Carolina are refusing to marry same-sex couples. They are the latest in a string of taxpayer-funded government employees citing their “sincerely held religious beliefs” for doing so. 

Even though the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is legal across the country, 14 magistrates in North Carolina have chosen to not perform same-sex marriages by taking advantage of a recusal law that passed last month. They are citing a “sincerely held religious objection” for their recusal. According to the Charlotte Observer, those magistrates will not be able to perform civil marriages for any couple, gay or straight, for at least six months.

For those of you wondering how this is possible, the state’s general assembly overrode a gubernatorial veto of Senate Bill 2, allowing civil magistrates to refuse to perform any marriage of which they disapprove on religious grounds. Keep in mind, magistrates are taxpayer-funded government employees.

The law in North Carolina says, “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based on sincerely held religious objection.”

The Daily Beast notes that a similar excuse was used to refuse interracial couples from marrying nearly a decade after the Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans.

When Carol Ann and Thomas Person walked into a courthouse to get married (note, a court house, and not a church), two magistrates refused to marry them because of their sincerely held religious objection. Carol Ann said one of the magistrates even “took out a Bible and began to lecture us about their religious views and why Thomas and I should not be together.”

While most same-sex couples have been getting married without a problem, some are still having challenges with getting marriage licenses from taxpayer-funded government employees.

A video of a Kentucky county clerk denying a male couple their marriage license has gone viral this week. The clerk can be heard telling the couple they need to go to another county.

In Ohio, Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell refused to marry two women because of his Christian beliefs. He released the following statement:

“On Monday, July 6, I declined to marry a non-traditional couple during my duties assignment. The declination was based upon my personal and Christian beliefs established over many years. I apologize to the couple for the delay they experienced and wish them the best. The court has implemented a process whereby same sex marriages will be accommodated. I will continue to perform traditional marriages during my duties assignment.”

In Texas, a same-sex couple was denied a marriage license every day until they filed a federal lawsuit. Why? 

“I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. That has not changed since last Friday,” claimed county clerk Katie Lang in Hood County.

Even though the LGBT community won the right to marry, the battle is not over. The issue is sure to be a hot topic during the 2016 presidential election since the GOP candidates have been very vocal about their opposition to the ruling. 

 

Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license

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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’

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Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”

NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”

The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”

“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”

READ MORE: Authoritarian Orban at CPAC Texas Delivers Anti-LGBTQ Attack on Marriage to Standing Ovation: ‘Leave Our Kids Alone’

NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”

On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.

“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”

The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”

“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”

 

 

 

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Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.

“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

READ MORE: Watch: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Likens Mitch McConnell to Segregationists Like Strom Thurmond by Using His Own Words

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.

The country is not 50-50.

According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.

Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.

There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.

Among the Republican candidates running, several likely will held Democrats keep control of the chamber, including Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania) and Herschel Walker (Georgia).

The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.

“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.

Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:

 

 

 

 

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Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

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Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.

Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.

And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.

The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.

After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.

READ MORE: Herschel Walker’s Remarks Against Same-Sex Marriage Resurface: ‘Each State Can Just Stop All of That’

But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.

A lot of money.

“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.

“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”

That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.

NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.

READ MORE: ‘Pathological Liar’: Herschel Walker’s Own Advisors Don’t Trust Him, Think He Isn’t Mentally Fit for the Job – Report

In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.

These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”

Walker answered “Yes.”

The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”

Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Calls for Creation of Federal Agency to Spy on Americans’ Social Media Posts to Prevent Gun Violence

There are many others.

Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.

In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”

“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.

“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.

Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.

Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.

“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”

 

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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